What to wear to the office Christmas party

Q. My Christmas work party is coming up in the next few weeks and really don’t know what to wear. Can you suggest a look that’s trendy but not too conservative?

A. It’s the season for that most contrived form of merriment - the office party. Yes, the time has come to mingle with your co-workers and small talk with your boss in a place far removed from the comfort of laptops, pie charts and water coolers. The time has come for the Christmas office party.

A curious affair isn't it? The problem is, the goal of the work party is so utterly at odds with the normal one, which is generally about getting tipsy and slaying every man around with your killer hot looks. Never before has there been an occasion which could inspire such fear and loathing in equal measures. If it wasn’t bad enough being stuck taking to Debbie from accounts all evening, nibbling a cold cocktail sausage, you are also supposed to look impossibly chic and sophisticated.

So move away from the leather mini skirt and leave the blinking Rudolph sweater in the closet, because this is not the time to start experimenting with your wardrobe. If you wouldn’t wear it to work, don’t wear it. The exception to the rule is ‘tasteful’ Christmas (hats, earrings and tinsel scarves) which are mandatory. Even though your Christmas party may be nowhere near the office, you are still with the office. Your goal is to look savvy, sophisticated and fashionably festive, but that can't involve something you wouldn't want your boss to see you in - because they will.

So think to yourself this invaluable phrase: "pretty but aloof, pretty but aloof". This magic chant will lead you into the arms of a nice knee-length dress with short sleeves and a very slight cleavage paired with some five-inch heels; a skirt and top combo; or a trouser suit. Perfect!

Cocktail dresses are also a great choice, try Monsoon or Coast for the best looks. If you are not feeling the 50’s prom styles, why not have a look in Marks and Spencer they have the most incredible selection of evening-wear this festive season. Try teaming a glamorous midi dress with a cute stole for the ultimate in Hollywood glamour.

Low-cut, backless, bra-less, super-tight, super short - all worthy weapons in the arsenal - but absolutely off-limits for an office party. Be remembered for wearing an elegant LBD, not for wearing a see-through blouse. Strive to be remembered for the right reasons and not for your lustful antics or David Brent dancing.

Above all, enjoy yourself!

Georgina Heffernan